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Knicks get much-needed win to avoid a winless west coast trip

The losing streak is...over!

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

After two straight losses to start the four-game West coast road trip, the New York Knicks got a nice win against the Los Angeles Lakers. The win moved the Knicks to 40-30 and tied them with the Brooklyn Nets for the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed.

The win ensured New York won at least one game on their road trip. With losses to the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers, falling to the Lakers would have put the Knicks at 0-3, with their last chance coming against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Sacramento track meet:

The Sacramento game turned into a game of catch-up after the Knicks fell behind by 16 at halftime. The Kings’ lead would grow to 21 with 8:55 left in the third quarter. New York stormed all the way back, even tying the game at 96 with 8:15 left in the fourth quarter. De’Aron Fox made a layup with 26.1 seconds to put Sacramento up 117-113, and the game was pretty much over from there. New York would hit just 13-of-50 three-pointers in that game. The 50 three-point attempts were tied for their fifth most in a game this season. They also attempted 101 field goals, which is well over their season average of 89.6 per game. The Knicks showed a lot of fight to come back despite Jalen Brunson only playing 19 minutes before leaving in the first half with a foot injury. Sacramento improved to 21-13 on their home court.

Chipper Clippers:

Against the Clippers, it was a bit of a different script. In a more physical, slowed-down game, the Knicks would fail to score 100 for just the fifth time this season. Two nights earlier, they were hoisting 100+ field goals and 50 three-pointers, but this game saw them attempt 90 fields and 31 three-pointers. It certainly didn’t help that they would shoot 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from three. One encouraging sign was they shot 24/27 (89%) from the foul line. This improvement came after hitting only 20 of 31 free throws against the Kings. New York would show great effort until the Clippers opened up a 12-point lead with 4:34 left in the game and pulled away. Kawhi Leonard was too much for the Knicks to handle, scoring 38 points, his second most in a game this season.

Three-game losing streak ends:

Facing off as underdogs against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, many thought the Knicks’ losing streak would extend to four games. It looked to be heading that way as the Lakers would start the game with an early 18-11 lead. With the Knicks on a back-to-back, it was unknown what their energy levels would be. Battling back, an RJ Barrett dunk with 30 seconds left would put the Knicks up 31-27 after one. Julius Randle came out hot against the team that drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, scoring 17 in the first stanza. The Knicks opened up their own eight-point lead in the second quarter, but Los Angeles would counter. It was a back-and-forth game until the Knicks took a ten-point lead with five minutes left, and the clock was their friend from there. Free throw shooting was key as Josh Hart knocked down two big ones to put the Knicks up 112-108 with five seconds left and ice the game. Julius Randle scored 33 points to defeat his former team and pick up a much-needed win for the Knicks.

Blazers next:

The Knicks will take on the Portland Trail Blazers to end their four-game road trip. A win in Portland will split the road trip 2-2. Without Jalen Brunson in two and a half of these games, New York has shown great fight.

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